Zimbabwean police raid MDC house


THE DURABILITY of Zimbabwe’s transitional government has been cast further into doubt following a raid by police on a house in Harare belonging to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in which senior party members stay.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told reporters on Saturday that 50 armed police officers searched the house, used for temporary accommodation by party officials visiting the capital, claiming they were looking for weapons.

Friday night’s raid has come less than a week after the MDC, formerly the opposition party, boycotted any further participation in the transitional government.

The incident seriously calls into question the MDC’s ability to work with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party .

The MDC says Zanu-PF has failed to meet its obligations under the eight-month-old powersharing deal and is only participating in the pact to hang on to power.

“Last night armed police numbering over 50 raided this residence on the pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the army,” Mr Biti said. Every room had been ransacked, he added, and valuable party material was taken.

“They beat up the wife and sister of the caretaker before they started digging part of the garden, ostensibly in search of weapons.

“The decision we took last week and the efforts we are making in government to protect public funds all have to do with these acts of frustration.”

In Saturday’s state-run Herald newspaper, Mr Mugabe belligerently vowed that his party would not give in to the demands of the MDC.

“The matters the people are complaining about in the MDC are that we should now, voluntarily you see, give away aspects of our authority,” Mr Mugabe said. “We will not do that. They can go to any summit, any part of the world, to appeal. That will not happen.”

Following the decision to boycott the transitional government, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai spent last week touring the region to try to get backing for a regional summit to tackle the powersharing deal’s outstanding issues.

Mr Biti concluded the police raid was “further evidence of a lack of a paradigm shift on the part of Zanu-PF to treat us as an equal partner. We regard it as serious evidence of a few in Zanu-PF and securocrats who want us out of the government.”

He added: “On our part, this is nothing new. They will continue to plant arms and attempt to kill us but we will look the dictatorship in the eye.”